DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — The bodies of three people have been removed from the site of a collapsed six-story apartment building in Davenport, Iowa, about a week after part of the century-old building fell to the ground, city police said. The Chief Minister announced on Monday.
“We don’t have any other information at this time that additional people are missing,” Chief Jeff Bladel said.
As the authorities announced the recovery of the bodies, several cases were registered against the residents and their families. Tenant Dayna Feuerbach accuses the city of Davenport and the building’s current and former owners of knowing the deteriorating conditions and failing to warn residents of the danger.
The lawsuit alleges multiple counts of negligence, seeks unspecified damages and indicates that additional lawsuits may be filed.
“The city had warning after warning,” attorney Jeffrey Goodman said in an interview with The Associated Press. He called this a common trend in the large structural collapses he had seen. “They had a responsibility to ensure that the safety of citizens came first. It is very clear that the City of Davenport did not do that.
Brandon Colvin Sr.’s body was recovered Saturday, the police chief said. Ryan Hitchcock’s body was recovered on Sunday and Daniel Brien’s body was recovered early Monday morning. Colvin, 42; Hitchcock, 51; and Brian, 60; There was a “higher probability of being at home during the collapse.”
The findings come after authorities announced the end of the search for survivors. Remains of an apartment building The collapse continued for the first 24 to 36 hours on May 28, putting rescue workers at great risk, but as the area stabilized, crews used an excavator and other heavy equipment to pull out parts of the debris pile.
Davenport officials said they are consulting with experts on how to safely bring down the remaining structure. The city fire marshal previously said explosives would not be used because of the proximity to other buildings in a busy area of downtown Davenport.
Mayor Mike Madson He said last week that complaints about the rescue and recovery process should be directed at him, not first responders.
Madsen said Monday that neither he nor other city officials have had contact with building owner Andrew Woldt.
Wold issued a statement dated May 30, saying, “Our thoughts and prayers are with our residents.” He has not issued a statement since then, and efforts to reach him, his company and a person believed to be his lawyer have been unsuccessful.
Davenport Hotels LLC bought the building in 2021 in a $4.2 million deal, county records show.
Bladel said the Davenport Fire Marshal’s Office has opened an investigation into the building collapse with assistance from the state Division of Criminal Investigation, Davenport Police and the Medical Examiner’s Office.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds toured the site Monday morning and later tweeted that the state was offering support and resources while working with city officials. “Thank you to the first responders for risking their lives to help their community,” he wrote.
Built as a hotel in 1907, the building has been converted into about 80 apartments housing about 50 people.
The state previously made $5,000 available to displaced tenants who met income requirements, and the city provided $6,000 to people forced from their homes. On Monday, the governor also waived fees for renters who need to replace their driver’s licenses.
On Friday, Scott County Attorney Kelly Cunningham cautioned against considering criminal prosecution appropriate, saying an independent investigation into the cause of the building’s structural failure should now be under the city’s jurisdiction.
Unresolved questions include why neither the owner nor city officials warned residents of the potential danger. A structural engineer’s report released days before the collapse said the wall of the century-old building was in danger of collapsing.
City officials and the building’s owner had been warned for months that parts of the building were unstable, documents released by the city show.
The lawsuit, filed Monday, also names two companies that Wold hired to evaluate and do work on the building. The lawsuit alleges that all parties “recognized the imminent danger residents faced, but failed to warn residents that their lives were in danger and allowed the building to deteriorate.”
The Bettendorf-based engineering firm, whose engineer David Vallier filed a report on the condition of the building as recently as May 24, “has a firm responsibility to sound the alarm of emergency and take all possible measures.” Make sure the building is evacuated for safety,” Goodman said. “We see their role in this tragedy as unfortunately central.”
Tenants have complained to the city in recent years about a number of problems they say have been neglected by property managers, including weeks or months of no heat or hot water, as well as mold and water leaks from ceilings and toilets. While city officials tried to address some complaints and issued evacuation orders to individual residences, a broad evacuation was never ordered, records show.
Current and former residents told The Associated Press about internal cracks in the wall, which eventually collapsed and were reported to building management. A woman’s leg was amputated to be rescued after her apartment building was caught in a massive rubble.
Associated Press contributors include Scott McFetridge and Hannah Fingerhut in Des Moines.